Perspective Series: Human Rights Conditions in Cuba since the Papal Visit   [open pdf - 271KB]

"The visit of Pope John Paul II to Cuba on January 21-25, 1998 opened new, though limited, space for the Cuban Catholic Church. However, the Cuban government of President Fidel Castro did not heed the Pope's call for democratic change. Since then, Castro has disregarded similar pleas from Canada, the European Union and members of the Organization of American States, and a year after the Pope's visit Cuba remained under the totalitarian control of a one-party Communist state. […].Heightened repression continued into 1999 with renewed waves of detentions and, in March, with the convictions and sentencing of four of Cuba's most prominent dissidents on charges of 'sedition,' as described later in this section and in Section XII. As the trial approached, at least 100 dissidents, including human rights activists and independent journalists, were temporarily detained or placed under house arrest in an evident attempt to prevent them from campaigning on behalf of those being tried, or from attending or reporting on the proceedings. Cuban human rights monitors said that it was from 482 to 381. However, another 79 prisoners were presumed to have been incarcerated for political reasons, while 16 detained on evidently political grounds were still awaiting trial."

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